Outreach and Education Division

    The EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIVISION supports chemistry education at all levels, including K-12, college, and adult/continuing education. It maintains liaisons to the Chicago Public Schools and the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT). The Division engages the general public in chemistry-related educational activities, participates in ACS activities at the annual Illinois State Fair, and publicizes all events and news-related content. The division oversees the annual Project SEED program for the Section as well as the Project SEED scholarships. The Division also assists public officials and other community bodies concerning chemistry-related matters. The Education and Outreach Division includes the Education, Outreach, Project SEED, and Public Affairs Committees.

    The EDUCATION COMMITTEE provides chemistry-related educational programs and information to learners of all ages and actively engages with educators at the pre-K-12 and college levels. Subcommittees include:

    • AACT Liaison
    • College Education Subcommittee
    • Continuing Education Subcommittee
    • Chicago School Board Liaison
    • K - 12 Education Subcommittee


    The PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ensures that section members and public officials and bodies are informed of matters where the knowledge and practice of chemistry is of substantial public importance. These matters can include government issues, environmental issues and the social responsibility of chemists. The Public Affairs Committee gives the Public Affairs Award biennially.

    The OUTREACH COMMITTEE engages the general public, educators and children in chemistry-related educational activities and participates in many different types of events around the greater Chicago area.   Subcommittees include:

    • Community Activities Subcommittee
    • Illinois State Fair Subcommittee


    PROJECT SEED COMMITTEE identifies interested low-income and/or minority high school junior and senior students who are interested in participating in a paid summer research experience with  a college or university faculty member.  It supports financial and logistical concerns for the student/ faculty relationships and communicating  relevant program information to the national ACS organization.  The committee is also responsible for distributing Project SEED awards to support the internships. 

    It's Glass-Time

    Kids, what does the word "glass" make you think of? Glass objects can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. List all the objects you come across in one day that are made out of glass. Where does glass come from? One example is window glass, also called "soda lime" glass. It is made mostly from a pure, white sand called silica. Also added are soda (soda ash or sodium carbonate) and lime (limestone or calcium carbonate). Soda ash makes the sand melt more easily and lime makes the glass hard and waterproof. In a glass factory furnace, the mixture is heated to 2,500°F for up to a day. Molten glass is viscous and small bubbles take a long time to disappear. To visualize this, mix powdered sugar in a glass of corn syrup and watch how long it takes for the bubbles to rise.

    What different kinds of glass are there? Huge windows are called float glass because of the way they are made. Since they need to be perfectly flat and smooth, the molten glass is floated on a layer of molten metal (often zinc) and is then cooled very slowly. To visualize this, pour some cooking oil over the back of a spoon onto water in a clear bowl. See how the oil layer floats on top? Some other types of glass are made from other ingredients added to the silica. "Pyrex" cookware is borosilicate, made with some boron to withstand quick temperature changes. Lead crystal incorporates lead to sparkle and make the glass easy to cut and engrave.

    What do you know about glass recycling? Amber and green glass are separated because a coloring agent has been added that cannot be removed. Therefore, brown bottles can only make other brown bottles. Recycled glass is crushed into pieces called cullet. Cullet, which melts at a lower temperature, is mixed with the raw materials silica, soda, and lime. This process reduces air pollution by 20%, water pollution by 50%, and saves space in landfills. However, only about 10% of the glass used in the U.S. is recycled.


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    December 1996


    References: "Glass" by Jane Chandler and the "Newton's Apple" web page: